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Toryism was true than he had that Mahometanism was true. He took up the opinions of the existing Government and advocated them, and to the end of his life would have thought it nonsense and rubbish' to act otherwise.
Probably, however, he would have acted more profitably if he had acted more conscientiously. It really was a case when honesty was the best policy. If he had paid a fair attention to the subjects of his time, he would have been on what all parties now admit to be the right side. If he had had a sincere wish to improve and benefit mankind, he would have been forward in the ranks of the Liberal party, who were then employed in doing so. The chances of life were various, but most likely he would have had his reward. The Whigs wanted a first-rate judge who was also a first-rate politician. During their long period of power they have never possessed one. The Whigs have been in power, roughly speaking, five-and-twenty years out of the last thirty. If Lord Lyndhurst had been their leader instead of the Tory leader, he would have had far more of what he valued, more power and influence, more wealth, and greater station. He would have been among the foremost of the winners instead of being among the foremost of the losers. There was nothing which he would have liked so much. There was nothing which he appreciated so much as success in the game of political life; nothing that he despised and detested like want of success.
It is pleasant to turn to a more favourable topic. Many duties Lord Lyndhurst may have neglected, or despised, or disowned; but one duty, and a neglected one, he performed better, perhaps, on the whole, than any man in his generation. He had the most disciplined intellect of his time. There is in every one of his productions evidence not only of natural sinewy strength, but of careful culture and intellectual gymnastic. Lord Brougham tells a story of finding him occupied over the integral calculus for amusement's sake, years ago. Every line of his speeches tells how well he understood, and
how well he acted on, the manly principles of Greek oratory. Few men led a laxer life; few men, to the very end of their life, were looser in their conversation ; but there was no laxity in his intellect. Everything there was braced and knit. Great oratory is but a transitory art ; few turn even to the best speeches of the past, and even the best of these are so clogged with the detail of the time that they are dull and wearisome to a hasty posterity. Few will recur to Lord Lyndhurst's speeches, but those who do so will find some of the best, if not the very best, specimens in English, of the best manner in which a man of great intellect can address and influence the intellects of others. Their art, we might almost say their merit, is of the highest kind, for it is concealed. The words seem the simplest, clearest, and most natural that a man could use.
It is only the instructed man who knows that he could not himself have used them, and that few men could.
Such was the great man whom we have just buried; great in power, but not great in the use of power; a politician, not a statesman; a man of small principle and few scruples. Of him, far more truly than of Burke, it may be said that 'to party he gave up what was meant for mankind.'
He played the game of life for low and selfish objects, and yet, by the intellectual power with which he played it, he redeemed that game from its intrinsic degradation.
THE TRIBUTE AT HEREFORD TO SIR G. C. LEWIS.
NOTHING could be in more perfect taste than the proceedings at Hereford on the uncovering of the statue of Sir George Lewis. These local events are local casualties. It is impossible to foretell whether the principal local person is not a loquacious fool of good intentions who will say just what he should not, or whether he is a man of feeling and judgment, who will say what he should say with taste and propriety.
There is nothing which Sir George Lewis would so much have disliked as an exaggerated éloge over his grave: those who knew him would have had his quiet smile of utter contempt present to them while they read it. Happily nothing of this sort was attempted. The sober and modest nature of the man was duly honoured in the quiet and unobtrusive nature of the remembrance.
Both Mr. Clive and Lord Palmerston spoke of Sir George Lewis with guarded care, as English gentlemen wish to be spoken of, as one English gentleman, therefore, should speak of another. Sir George Lewis had no enemies, but, if he had, no enemy could have taken a just exception to the praises of his friends. He would have exactly desired this. He cared very little, perhaps nothing, for passing popularity; he would have been prepared with various classical quotations upon the mutability of the vulgar judgment, but he would deeply value a restrained expression of deep respect by neighbours and friends who knew him well; he would have believed that they were the legitimate authority,' the persons who ought to speak on that matter.
It is very curious that Lord Palmerston, who spoke, so to say, Sir George Lewis's epitaph, should have had the slowest, and that Sir George Lewis should have had the most rapid, political rise of our time. Unquestionably Lord Palmerston is in some sense a buoyant man, and Sir George Lewis was in some sense a heavy man, yet the latter came to the surface far quicker. Lord Palmerston was a quarter of a century in Parliament before he was anything at all—before he was any more than a subaltern official ; Sir George Lewis was only thirteen years in Parliament altogether, and in that time he was Secretary of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Secretary for War, and had acquired the perfect respect and confidence of the House of Commons. He finished his whole career as a statesman in about half the number of years that it took Lord Palmerston to become a statesman at all.
The causes which so much delayed Lord Palmerston's rise are not to the present purpose, but the cause which so much accelerated that of Sir George Lewis is very simple. He had, above every other statesman of the age, the gift of inspiring confidence. Coleridge said of Southey that he inspired every one with a confidence in his reliability, and this is an almost exact description of Sir George Lewis. Political opponents and political friends both felt that he had fairly applied a strong and unfettered mind to vast accumulated information, and that his measures were the result of that application. People thought twice before they opposed a grave and business-like measure, proposed by Sir George Lewis in that grave and business-like manner.
In one most important respect he was like Lord Palmerston, though in every other most unlike. His opinions were always plain and simple opinions. People who went to him with the notion that he was a great philosopher and scholar were often puzzled at his plainness. They expected something far-fetched and recondite, and certainly they did not get it. He held as a principle that difficult schemes, fine calculations, unintelligible policies, were, as such, beyond the range of popular government. Perhaps too he hated them as if they were a kind of mysticism. At all events a person who could not understand Sir George Lewis's conversation on political business, must have been unfit for every kind of business. It had exactly the homely exactitude that English people like. We have heard it remarked of Sir Robert Peel's speeches that he generally made a remark which seemed to have been left by every one on purpose for him ; it was so sensible, when made, that every one believed he could have made it. It was much the same with Sir George Lewis. What he said seemed so credible and sensible that in an hour or two you were apt to believe that you had always thought so.
Possibly this distinctness of aim has been rather deficient in our policy for a year past. We certainly believe that Sir George Lewis could have cross-examined Lord Russell on the Danish policy rather acutely. “What,' he would have said, 'is the object you desire ? When we are agreed on that, we will discuss the modus operandi; but it is a mistake to deliberate on expedients when there is a fundamental discrepancy respecting ends. At any rate we should like to hear Lord Russell answer Sir George Lewis on this subject. This need of a definite aim ran through all his speculations. To take an example from the foreign politics now most interesting to usAmerican politics : 'I have never,' said Sir George Lewis in a letter of March 1861, now lying before us, been able, either in conversation or by reading, to obtain an answer to the question, What will the North do if they beat the South ? To restore the old Union would be an absurdity. What other state of things does that village lawyer, Lincoln, contemplate as the fruit of victory? It seems to me that the men now in powe at Washington are much such persons as in this country get possession of a disreputable joint-stock company. . There is